The Outstater

December 6, 2022

Knock, Knock . .

I READ A LOT OF HEADLINES. To save time, I’ve learned to sort them into three stacks. The one is announcing that someone has devised a way to help absolutely everybody absolutely equally. The other is that the Biden administration, which has promised to destroy the nation for reasons that only future historians will understand, is in fact destroying the nation.

I don’t need to read those stacks. The remaining stack is much, much smaller. Indeed, this week it consisted of a single article from the Associated Press, “U.S. Police Rarely Deploy Deadly Robots to Confront Suspects.”

What could go wrong? Still, as I have aged I have paid more attention to adjectives. In this case, I began the article looking for qualification of “rarely” and “deadly.” Finding none, I moved on to imagining who I know in government who could be trusted to program or direct mechanical enforcement of our Constitution.

My mailman seems a nice guy; maybe he could do it. Or whoever writes the OSHA warnings on step ladders.

Or maybe not.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 this week to permit police to use robots armed with explosives. They can now unleash a robot dog “in extreme situations where lives are at stake and no other alternative is available.”

How do you feel about eight San Francisco politicians deciding what is an “extreme” situation, when lives are “at stake,” and where no “alternative” is “available”?

Myself, I’m not that worried. Government is rarely — there’s that word again — primarily interested in killing its own citizens (although several have done an impressive job of that). What government is most interested in is collecting taxes.

Given no change in the inutility of Republican leadership, the unobstructed path open to robots is in front of us — leading directly to government epitomized.

That is, there will be a well-oiled, armed robot at the front door asking you to gather up your receipts and pay slips for digital uploading. He/She/It is there to settle any balance owed as a result of recent perhaps unannounced changes in the tax code. While you are at it, bring your cell phone and the trip tickets from your electric car. And while you are doing all that, be sure not to make any sudden moves.

He/She/It will be happy to wait. — tcl


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